AnanTaya, the store respects the infinite legacy of Indian crafts and expresses them through its beautiful and versatile products that cleverly invoke our heritage.
Located in Jaipur, AnanTaya has the advantage of being in a locale where indigenous craftsmanship thrives. The name resonates not only with the philosophy of the owners Geetanjali and Ayush Kasliwal, but also with the names of their children.
“My oldest daughter is named Anunya, and my middle daughter is Tanaya (fondly called Taya). Derived from these two names, AnanTaya means infinite, never-ending or ever flowing, which we thought was a beautiful way to describe our incredible craft legacy,” says the duo.
An open courtyard greets you on entering the 1500 square feet store. The location was once a derelict space, having been a car mechanic’s garage and also a warehouse for a timber merchant previously. The raised podium is almost 80 years old, and the couple has even retained the original surface.
“It makes a beautiful space for us to organise and host workshops, talks, events and performances. We had a wonderful concert by the Kabir cafe at our launch, several book launches and even a bespoke event during the Jaipur literature festival in January 2016,” they state.
The philosophy and essence of the brand works around nurturing traditional crafts and giving them a contemporary twist. Indeed, this is also reflected in the store design. Black natural finish Cuddapah stone lines the floor.
The basic structure is industrial, but the idea has been informed by tradition. For example, the store picks on the visual language of traditional tents which used to accompany the rulers of Rajputana on their military campaigns. There are textile awnings installed in the summers to keep out the harsh sun.
The south-facing veranda has a carved screen made in traditional lime mortar, a technique rarely used in contemporary architecture. The delicate screen is echoed on the other side in the large hand beaten globe made by master craftsman Dilshad using the traditional ‘repoussé’ technique. “The artisan made them on site, and it actually took more time to make the screens, than it did to make the entire building! But it was worth the wait,” say the couple.
The complete glass frontage has been lined with beautifully woven bamboo sticks, which cast dappled shadows in the evening sun. The unique door handles, made in sand cast brass have bronze bells hanging on them. The fabric lined ceiling changes seasonally, with bright Leharia curtains coming out in Holi and rich red ones in Diwali.
This fluidity naturally translates to fluid displays as well. The displays are on flexible shelves that can be folded occasionally to form wall panels and opened up as necessary. “We have been very careful about the in-store signage, and most objects have labels describing the product, and the idea behind it.”
“We wanted the products to appear to be in a curated museum space and exude a unique narrative that would be completely accessible and something that the patrons could enjoy in their homes today,” they explain. Displays are revamped partly or completely, as required, depending on newer ranges or in-store exhibitions.
The wide variety of products are mostly designed and produced in-house. However, the store also showcases creations of talented people who share a like-minded philosophy. The mélange of the décor, in-store experience and respect for Indian craftsmanship that pervades everything – right from the brand philosophy to the products and the way they are displayed, makes a visit to AnanTaya a refreshing dip into the world of contemporary Indian design.
Text By Dhanishta Shah
Photographs Shine Bhola